February 21, 2015


Although a little hit and miss on Saturday with some properties particularly strong (18 Gowar Ave Camberwell, Scott Patterson Kay & Burton), buyers also demonstrated discernment for properties that weren’t ticking all the boxes.

Saturday’s results, combined with this week’s, will provide some direction of the market leading into Easter.

A standout land result  was 4 Bramley Court Kew (Nic Franzmann, Nikki Van Gulick, Marshall White). 610 sqm sold for $2.63m – which works out to be around $4,500 per sqm.

Intensity for the elusive family home between $1-3million appears to be continuing strongly, particularly if the key fundamentals are ticked.

  • Location
  • Orientation
  • Floorplan

While demand continues to outweigh supply, buyers may wish to increase their research strategies to maximise their chances of being the buyer.

Today, it was clear to see, after witnessing a high volume of buyers through the inspections, that the numbers have carried over into bidders, often with 4, 5 or 6 bidders competing on the goodies.

With agents continuing to say that the demand outweighs the supply, some buyers may discover that their desire to win (buy) becomes more important than trying to find the right home.

To be the buyer in this market, you need to be prepared to bid the highest amount.  However, it is important that you are still bidding on the right property, not just any property.

We often hear that auctions provide great results for vendors.

Buyers can often feel daunted by the process and led to believe that the emotion drives the price higher.

However, auctions can also be an opportunity for buyers:

  1.  It is transparent – you can see who you are bidding against
  2. You have an opportunity to manage your bidding strategy
  3. Once the reserve has been met, the amount you pay is determined by your under-bidder

Research is important when bidding at auction – as this will help you create a good strategy for the day and minimise surprises.   Research can include:

  • Why is this a good property for you?
  • Who you will be competing with?
  • Understanding past results
  • Where the vendor may be

A well thought out strategy will allow you to bid with confidence and a knowledge that you should already have a good idea about what is likely to transpire.


Good homes to renovate

A question I am often asked is “What style of home is easiest to renovate?” Naturally, there are exceptions to any rule, yet there are some basic things to consider if you are buying a home so that you will have the flexibility to renovate in the future if you wish to do so.

House styles such as Californian Bungalows, Edwardians or Victorians are generally quite easy to extend, as the entry hall is a good width (encouraging good front-to-back flow), the facades are pretty, the main front rooms are well proportioned and the ceilings heights are generous.

Styles such as Art Deco or 1960s/1970s can be great if you really love that style and they can have an amazing internal feel, yet I commonly find these homes can be problematic when it comes time to alter them. Often the front hall and front room sizes are small, the ceilings are low and the front-to-back path is tricky given the compartmentalisation of the rooms (ie central kitchens block the flow).  Many of the internal walls are brick and therefore loadbearing and harder to remove. Generally speaking, most people do not find these homes present attractively to the street either. These houses are often not covered by heritage overlays, as many councils have not deemed these styles worthy of heritage protection. So it may not be worth you investing huge capital in renovating such a house, as you are unlikely to recoup this money when re-selling.

Given renovation costs are not cheap, the simpler you can make changes the better.  You would not want to alter too much of the original home either, otherwise knocking down and building new may make more sense in terms of re-sale.

Other things to look out for:

  • Chimneys – too many chimneys can hamper furniture placement and limit the opportunity for upstairs extensions.
  • Simple rooflines. Houses with flat roofs at the rear are great, as there is a good chance you can remove this section without affecting the main part of the house.
  • Good side setbacks, allowing for future garaging or car access.

Naturally, any changes may be subject to council approval. The engagement of a good architect and/or town planner early on in the buying process really can make life so much easier later on.

plans to renovate[1]

Auction Highlights:

33 Dillon Grove, Glen Iris (Jason Brinkworth & Daniel Wheeler, Marshall White), under hammer, $1.805m, 4 bidders

I, along with a few others, was interested in this auction, particularly as this property was flagged for a quiet sale at the end of last year.

A relaxed crowd of approximately 100 gathered in the shade cast by the many leafy trees in this lovely family-friendly Glen Iris locale.

Auctioneer Daniel Wheeler (Marshall White) gave a spirited preamble. After a lengthy pause, anticipating response from the crowd, he muttered “I thought that sounded all right?” This got a few chuckles from the crowd. Daniel then placed a vendor bid of $1.5 million.

After a minute or two of further banter, Bidder 1 then offered a $10,000 rise. The auction skipped along ,with a few other bidders joining in and was announced on the market at $1.765 million.

When it looked like the property was going to be knocked down, Daniel asked the bidders “Are you still in?” One of the first bidders put up their hand in a relaxed way and the auction kicked into another gear.

The property eventually sold for $1.805 million (four bidders). Solid result for the vendor and listing agent Jason Brinkworth who, for many vendors in this precinct, is the “go-to” man.



10 Albert Street, Malvern East (Jason Brinkworth & Daniel Wheeler, Marshall White), passed in, $1.71m, 1 bidder

It was a quieter day at 10 Albert Street.  Auctioneer, Daniel Wheeler, opened the bidding with a vendor bid of $1,700,000 and it seemed as quickly as the auction started, it was going to end.

The crowd was spread around the peripheries, providing no indication that they were intending on bidding.

6 Albert Street, of similar land, sold in October last year for an undisclosed amount between $1.3-1.4million – a single storey home with a less conventional floorplan (the rear providing options as a self contained flat), $1.7million felt like a bold starting point.

Although the floorplan for 10 wasn’t completely modern, it offered good bedroom options and living zones, over two levels.

To Daniel’s credit he persisted and after returning from a half time break, at the death knock came a $10,000 genuine bid.

Wasting no more time, the property was quickly passed in for private negotiations.


38 Stokes St, Port Melbourne, Justin Holod (Marshall White), under hammer, $1,632,500, 3 bidders

Under a hot Melbourne sun, with the bay glistening at the end of the street, auctioneer Justin Holod took centre stage in front of a big crowd of around 80 and highlighted the many attractions of both Port Melbourne and the two storey townhouse on offer.

Looking for an opening bid of $1m, but unable to secure one from the crowd, Justin instead tabled a vendor bid of this amount.

Bidder 1 was quick now to enter and before long, bidders 2 and 3 had entered the competition.

At around the $1.4m mark Justin announced that the reserve had been met. Bidding continued strongly until the hammer came down at $1,632,500.


Agent Opinion: How is the $1m+ market shaping up for 2015?

David Hart, Buxton (Brighton):

David_Hart_largeThe market has bounced out of the blocks very strongly in 2015. There is very strong buyer activity with a number of off-market sales transacting, as well as extremely large attendances at open for inspections, with pre auction offers common. I have no doubt this is being driven by the lack of quality stock available in Brighton and Brighton East so far this year. People are not afraid to make purchasing decisions for the right properties.

The $1million plus home market in these areas is well within reach of a huge portion of the market, and any well-presented, well promoted and well-priced property in this range is almost guaranteed competition.